Saturday, November 12, 2011

FRANCE: Two months and counting...

So, I'm already two months into this exchange and I haven't written a blogpost! I actually have started writing several posts, got distracted, and never finished. But this time it's different! I'm going to give a short summary of the past two (crazy!) months. I will later do more themed posts about French culture, school, trips I've been on, things like that.  So, I'll start with the initial feelings I had when I came to France. When I arrived at Charles De Gualle with a group of around 50 other exchange students emotions were running high. It was as if we had made it, finished are long journey yet it was only the beginning. Everyone looked around, wide-eyed, making sure they didn't miss a second of their first day in France. I spent most of this time worrying about my luggage and trying to see if they were going to be on the plane to Montpelier with me (the airline told me yes but when I got to Montpelier... Surprise! not there). I like to describe that first day as sorta being thrown into the middle of a foreign film with the subtitles turned off. I tried to listen to what was happening around me, recognize words but nothing came to me. It was as if I had an idea of the movies plot but didn't really know any of the characters or what they were talking about. Thanks to the French Rotarians everyone met up with their families or were sent on their way to the different terminals spreading us wide and far all around France. I met up with a friend from Outbound Camp who was headed on the same plane to Montpelier because are towns are pretty close to each other. We got on the plane, it landed (late), my bags didn't arrive, found my host family and headed for the beautiful city of Sete (I still haven't figure out how to write out the accent but there is one over the first e). Seriously, it was the most beautiful day to arrive in France because there wasn't a cloud in the sky, it was really nice and warm, summer was still in full swing. As soon as I got to my first host families home they fed me traditional food from Sete, the tielle. Man, after eating really bad airlpane food this was so heavenly. For the first week I think I ate meat twice because the diet here is mostly centered around fish since there it is a port town. I've had the best fish in my life here, also the bread! I'll dedicate a post later on to food because there is so much to talk about when it comes to french cuisine. Well, right after lunch I slept for a few hours, trying to get used to the humid heat of the coast. This is a lot of what I did the first few days in France, trying to catch up on sleep and getting rid of the jet lag. My host family took me to a few museums and exhibits, a tour of Sete, made me really happy to be here and got me more acquainted with the culture. School started about a week and a half later. The first few days were really rough because of how large the language barrier was. I'm not perfect in French yet or anything but I've learned so much in the past two months that I sometimes surprise myself. One thing that I find fascinating is how much a foreign exchange is centered around communication, the want and need to be understood by others. As humans we try to get others to understand our situations and who we are but when you are on exchange you have to add the need of trying to be understood in the simple ways saying short sentences your not exactly sure how to pronounce. I can understand a lot of French now but still have those moments everyday when I have no idea what people are talking about. Those are getting less frequent, at least. Let's see, after about a week of school Rotary held a weekend meeting for the exchange students in my district in the town of Cahors. There I met a bunch of students from around the world who are staying here in the the more southeastern part of France. Really fun weekend full of canoeing, laughs, and very interesting conversations. Two other big news, I went to London and I am now staying with my second host family. London was really cool (I'll write a blog about it soon enough, hopefully) and it was really nice of my first host parents to invite me to go and show me around the city! And yes, I am currently with my second host family. I will have two host families here in France and I will be changing every few months between them. Both of my host families have been really nice and understanding of me and the things that go with being on exchange. And now I shall go because it's morning and I have a report to write in French to do. I'll try to write more often from now on, maybe a post every week about a specific topic and how everything is going in general. 

Au revoir!
Up in the air...


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